Tarptent Double Rainbow

Interview with Tarptent, From the Archives

For the hardy few willing to hike miles on end, sleep on the ground and cook over a sputtering stove, backpacking opens up wilderness places and experiences inaccessible to the average day hiker.

But it requires skills of self-sufficiency, a sense of adventure and – increasingly evident as the miles add up and the mountain looms – a heavy backpack.

That was the problem faced by Henry Shires, now of Nevada City, when planning a 2,650-mile hike on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexican border to Canada in 1999.

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Snow camping Tahoe

Flashback: Winter Camping in Tahoe

Back in the winter of 2009-10, I was lucky enough to tag along with a Tahoe Rim Trail Association snow camping trip in the Mount Rose area above Lake Tahoe. Snow camping isn’t something that appeals to a lot of people, but the opportunity to do something different in Tahoe’s backcountry was exciting to me, and to have instruction the first time out made it an easy sell.

Snow camping Tahoe

After snowshoeing in to camp, the instructors showed us how to tamp down a level spot for our tents, which we left to sinter (letting the crystals of snow refreeze to each other, making a more stable platform), while taking a sunset hike.

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2015 Giant Trance 27.5 1

2015 Giant Trance 27.5 1 Review

If you’re looking for a comparison to every other current bike on the market, this isn’t the review for you. This is my first new mountain bike since 1999. Aside from a demo on an Ibis Mojo HDR 650b, this is my first bike with 27.5 wheels, tubeless tires, 5.5 inches of suspension, disc brakes, a 2×10 drivetrain and a dropper post.

So I won’t try and put this bike in context of its competition. I can’t. I can only tell you how the Giant Trance 27.5 rides. And the best way to describe that is balanced. The 140mm Maestro suspension is balanced between plushness and efficiency, the geometry is balanced between stable and playful, the whole bike is balanced between uphill and downhill. This bike has a lot of Goldilocks going on.

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Eastern Sierra Sunset

Eastern Sierra Breweries – Mountain Rambler & June Lakes Brewing

Lynn and I took a spontaneous trip down the Eastern Sierra to Bishop over the weekend, with loose plans of climbing, camping and mountain biking. We bouldered in the Happy’s and the Buttermilks, I screwed up mountain biking by forgetting my shoes – but two new breweries, one in Bishop and one in June Lakes, really stole the show.

We’ve always been big fans of Mammoth Brewing Company, and the 395 IPA has always been one of my favorite beers – the use of Eastern Sierra sage and juniper instantly transport me to the high desert below jagged granite peaks – no matter where I am.

At Mountain Rambler - Photo by Lynn Baumgartner (tahoefabulous.com)

At Mountain Rambler – Photo by Lynn Baumgartner (tahoefabulous.com)

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Donner Peak Sunset

Save Donner Summit Climbing

The Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Access Fund are working to preserve the world-class climbing on Donner Summit, click here for the details and to donate.

Me climbing on Green Phantom, Donner Summit. Photo by Sylas Wright.

Me climbing on Green Phantom, Donner Summit. Photo by Sylas Wright.

You can get all the details in the link above, but the short version is – the private property surrounding Black Wall, one of the key climbing areas on the summit, is up for sale, and the Truckee Donner Land Trust and Access Fund want to not only insure it stays accessible by purchasing it, but also set up partnerships with Caltrans, US Forest Service and Union Pacific Railroad to keep all climbing on Donner Summit open and accessible to the public.

From the Nursery School Slab that is so many people’s first outdoor rock climb to Kindergarten Crag, many people’s first multi-pitch route, numerous top roping routes to some of the hardest routes in the country, this is a key climbing area well worth protecting. Learn more about Donner Summit climbing here.